Cranberries or Vaccinium macrocarpon are a small berry that packs a large punch! Cranberries are rich in phytonutrients such as proanthocyanidin antioxidants. Cranberries are rich in other antioxidants that help to reduce risk of oxidative stress. These nutrients are beneficial for overall health and wellness. These health benefits of cranberries range from inflammatory infections and disease to urinary tract infections to dental health! Cranberries are acidic berries that grow in the northern United States and Canada from October to December. Cranberries can be consumed or prepared in a variety of ways. Some popular ways to consume cranberries is through cold press juicing, dried or dehydrated, and fresh. Cranberries have more antioxidants that most other fruits and vegetables. They come in second to cultivated blueberries. One cup of cranberries has an antioxidant capacity of more than 8900.
Cranberry Juice Benefits
Cranberries are regarded as a super fruit, so what is so SUPER about them? There are many different health benefits that cranberries and cranberry juice provides. One cup of cranberry juice is only 45kcals but it contains 195mg of potassium and 39% of your daily value of vitamin C as well as packed with infection fighting antioxidants!
Cranberry juice benefits Urinary Tract Infections
Cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections and lessen the symptoms of urinary tract infections you already have. Cranberry juice helps to avoid urinary tract infections by making the urinary tract more acidic which creates an environment where the E. coli bacteria cannot live (WebMD, 2016). Research suggests that regularly consuming cranberry juice on a daily basis can help prevent urinary tract infections in pregnant women as well as for patients that have had a surgery that requires the use of a Foley catheter. Cranberry juice cannot cure an already onset infection.
Cranberry Juice may benefit heart health
Because cranberries possess anti-inflammatory properties, they are beneficial in heart disease prevention. Cranberry juice can help prevent inflammation that can potentially damage blood vessels in and around the heart. This reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis. This is a heart disease that is caused by buildup of fats and cholesterol from the blood. It results in an obstruction of blood flow throughout the body and can lead to cardiac events like heart attacks and strokes.
Cranberry juice and cancer prevention
Cranberries contain powerful nutrients called antioxidants. Antioxidants work by protecting your cells from damage due to free radicals in the body. Free radicals play a role in the development of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancers. Studies have shown that cranberry juice can inhibit the growth of breast, colon, prostate, and lung tumors (Neto, 2007). This information suggests that cranberries and cranberry juice could potentially be used in supplement to cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation as well as in preventative efforts. Proanthocyanidins are an antioxidant that prevents the growth of cancer cells and acts as an anti-carcinogenic. This antioxidant particularly is beneficial in interfering with the growth of colon and prostate cancer cells.
Cranberry juice benefits gastrointestinal health
Cranberry juice can be beneficial to gastrointestinal or stomach health as well. In a similar way that cranberry prevents E. coli from attaching to the urinary tract lining; the cranberries also prevent the H. pylori bacteria from attaching and growing in the lining of the stomach. This bacterium is responsible for the development of stomach ulcers. A study completed in Beijing showed that patients that regularly consumed cranberry juice had a 50% advantage in preventing bacterial stomach infections than patients that did not consume any cranberry juice. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties may also reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Cranberry juice benefits dental health
Antioxidants that are found in cranberries are also responsible for preventing cavities in teeth. The proanthocyanidins prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth which prevent cavities from forming. This antioxidant prevents acid from being produced which results in less dental plaque. This reduces the risk for periodontal diseases such as gingivitis. For optimal health benefits, 1000%, natural, or cold pressed cranberry juice should be used to avoid artificial sweeteners and added sugars. This can be detrimental to dental health. Cranberry juice contains calcium which leads to stronger and healthier teeth.
Cranberry juice Respiratory Infections
Antioxidant rich cranberries are also helpful in fighting respiratory infections and colds. Cranberry juice has proven to be effective in preventing certain influenza strains. The anti-inflammatory properties are also beneficial in preventing and curing infections. These properties also protect the lining of the lungs from bacterial and viral infections which is particularly beneficial during flu season.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the most important vitamins for optimal healthy living. It is a vitamin that is required for the function and daily maintenance of body tissues and organs. Vitamin C helps to build the immune system which helps the body fight off bacteria and viruses including the common cold and the nasty influenza virus that makes its way through everyone during the winter months. Vitamin C is also critical in preventing cardiovascular diseases and diseases of the eye. One cup of cranberry juice contains more than one-third of the daily recommendation for vitamin C. One cup of cranberry juice contains 23.5 milligrams of vitamin C. The recommended amount for is 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men.
While cranberry juice is healthy, there are some factors that should be considered before consumption. Cranberries do contain sugar and calories, so both of these should be closely monitored, particularly if you are trying to lose weight. If you are diabetic, you should also closely monitor your sugar when consuming cranberry juice on a regular basis. If you are taking blood thinners or aspirin, talk to your health care provider before consuming cranberry juice due to potential excessive bleeding. Cranberry juice can also cause kidney stones. If you have a personal history of kidney stones, speak with your health care provider before increasing consumption.
The bottom line on cranberry juice
In conclusion, cranberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. They are indeed the superfood that the holistic world has claimed them to be. There are many elevated health benefits that drinking cranberry juice on a daily basis can provide. All cranberry juice that is consumed should be 100% juice with no added sugars, sweeteners, or preservatives. This is crucial for the maximum health benefits of the cranberries to be obtained. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits of cranberry juice for your health.
Eells, James A. McKinnell, Loren G. Miller; Daily Cranberry Prophylaxis to Prevent Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections May Be Beneficial in Some Populations of Women, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 52, Issue 11, 1 June 2011, Pages 1393–1394, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cir190
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SF Gate. (2012, October 8). How Much Vitamin C is in Cranberry Juice? Retrieved from https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-vitamin-c-cranberry-juice-5829.html
Zhang L , et al. (2005). Efficacy of cranberry juice on Helicobacter pylori infection: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. - PubMed - NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15810945